What do Cheers, Starbucks and today’s top consumer trends have in common?
There are Starbucks in every small town and on every other street corner in the big cities for a reason. Companies like these and others know the importance of being local for their customers. Just like the classic TV lyrics says:
Makin’ your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Takin’ a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name, And they’re always glad you came. *
Look what we found at a local coffee shop the other day. (Click on the Starbucks chalkboard image to enlarge it).
Have you also noticed that these shops are not just clones of the corporate collective? They are typically unique, have a local flavor and are staffed with local people. Click the image of the sign above to see an example of a local Starbucks reaching its community.
Small Business knows how to treat customers right…
Recently I was traveling in South Florida. While waiting for a rental car at the airport a seemingly dazed man came up to me. I could tell by the look on his face that he was in some type of shock. He started out saying… “What is happening to business in America?” It got my attention. He went on to rant about how he could not find anyone to help him with his problem from one of the large national rental car companies. (I’m leaving out a lot of his issues) He said: “I own 4 companies and we do not treat our customers this way.” I said in turn that “I don’t either.” Then I went on to talk about the emergence of small business because of the opportunity for superior customer service.
Many large retailers are not in-tune with the local customer…
The point here is that many large corporate entities are in trouble because they are not localized or do not have a local customer-centered mentality, and do not properly train or much less empower their employees to make customers happy. People therefore appreciate the smaller companies that do because of the high level of friendly, knowledgeable service they receive (and crave).
I’m not going to be so bold as to say that the demise of corporate service at the local level is automatically an opportunity for your business… but it sure could be if you work to make your customers feel good about doing business with you. I’m also sure there are many large corporate businesses that are doing well because of their attention to the customer (in fact Wal-Mart is very good at it); but those who don’t should be reading this article now rather that reading it while filing for Chapter 11.
Consumers are looking for Sustainability…
We are all after a sustainable business model and are becoming more and more about a sustainable society. It is a grass root movement, the same one that brought us “green”. But sustainability means more than the environment; it is economic, social and environmental. See the blog article: Trend Watch: Sustainability Defined (finally):
Listen to what others are saying about it and search your own experience.
The last word...
I always send these blogs around the office to be proofed since my brain typically engages way before my fingers do. Here is what our Director of Merchandising said when I asked if the article was on point:
“I like the point and it is relevant to our customers. I like the links as well. Every business owner has a choice in how they treat (or value) their customers. They either think the customer is important enough to keep or they think that customer is expendable (and another will come along to replace them). And as consumers we have power in the choices we make each day: to help our neighbors by supporting their businesses, help our economy (buy USA) and help the earth be better for our children and grandchildren by being “green”. I know that personally – I believe & understand that much more now.”
Robby Meadows, Nashville Wraps
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* Cheers TV Show Lyrics by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo